Murray Pfaff / Royal Oak, MI
You may have seen the work of Pfaff Designs in magazines and on television, as Murray Pfaff has slowly been building his reputation within the industry over the past 10 years (see Pfaff's latest accomplishments at PfaffDesigns.com). For his workday shop, we frankly expected a lavish, ultramodern garage with perfect floors, manicured cabinets, and not a tool in sight. So we were more than taken aback when photographer Will Handzel showed us the shop where Pfaff built his first complete car--the Imperial Speedster. Since our focus here is Pfaff's shop, we must skip the car's amazing backstory and construction adventures. There are several stories online, including one from Hot Rod, that will fill in all the details. But to give the effort its due recognition, we must mention that Pfaff and seven friends created this roadster out of a '59 Imperial Sedan, removing 6 feet out of the middle car and transforming it into this outlandish, late-model, Hemi-powered custom. In a testament to perseverance, the Speedster was built entirely in this shop. So the message is clear: You don't need an expensive shop to do quality work, all you need is the desire and a few quality tools.
1. The grinder and buffer stands are old steel wheels with driveshaft tubes as uprights. The grinder actually telescopes with multiple holes and a simple pin to set the height.
2. The Speedster sits on a complete Schwartz, early-Camaro tube chassis with a Viper IRS. If you had X-ray vision and could see all the cuts, seams, and incisions made to this car, it would look more like a three-dimensional Michigan roadmap than an automobile.
3. This is a budget operation, and Murray is justifiably proud of the scrap 2x4 car stands he built that have served throughout the car's buildup. These stands cost nothing to build and, Murray says, are incredibly durable.
4. At 6-feet-1-inch tall, Murray added 4 inches to his workbench to be more comfortable.
Murray says he has been accused of watching too much reality TV, but at least he didn't pay much for the TV or the stereo. Both were rescued after being kicked curbside by their previous owners.
5. A good friend was about to scrap this vertical mill. Murray rebuilt it for an investment of about $500. "It isn't the most accurate mill around," he says, "but it works just fine."
6. The foam core piece on the bench is a mockup of a stand that will use the Dayton Wire rear wheel oops that will become a welcome sign for Murray's yearly Woodward Cruise party.
7. The wood I-beam construction of these sawhorses makes them very strong and much more useful.